Advanced Coatings Platform to Drive New High Value Engineering Processes and Products

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering

Abstract

The UK engineering coatings industry is worth over £11bn and affects products worth £140bn. The vision of this project is to create internationally unique multi-purpose PVD/PECVD coatings system which will enable innovation in advanced science of future hybrid coatings. This new facility would be built on the existing Leeds coating platform capability and would create system with no similar functionality available internationally.
Using existing Leeds coating platform we can already deposit carbides, nitrides and diamond-like carbide (DLC) coatings, and we are exploiting this mainly for tribological applications with automotive, energy and lubricant companies. With this investment, we will be able to additionally process novel nanocomposite coatings, next generation of DLC coatings (with incorporated nanoparticles), advanced optical coatings and sensor coatings, carry out functionalisation of powders, barrier layers, coatings on polymers and coatings on complex shapes.
This proposal aligns with a major new initiative at the University of Leeds to create an integrated gateway to Physical Sciences and Engineering by investing in the collaborative Bragg Centre that will house new state-of-the-art research facilities for the integrated development, characterisation and exploitation of novel advanced functional materials. This proposal also coincides with Leeds University investment in the Nexus Centre - a hub for the local innovation community as well as national and international organisations looking to innovate and engage in world-leading research. The upgraded coating platform would play a strategic role in the UK Surface Engineering landscape and complement existing national facilities. It would form a part of the new Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials, of which Leeds is a partner. The configuration of the new instrument is designed to be versatile and serve a wide range of internal and external users with widely different classes of advanced matials.
A number of specific activities have been planned to ensure that potential beneficiaries have the opportunity to engage with new coating facility. The economic competitiveness of the UK's manufacturing industry will benefit from new, commercially exploitable IP in novel cutting-edge Surface Engineering technology. Members of an academic community and industry will be able to benefit directly from the proposed research and generated new knowledge. They will gain new skills and know-how related to the latest advancements of PVD technologies. Improved adoption of Surface Engineering will result in wider UK PLC economic and societal impacts associated with development of functional surfaces for automotive, aerospace, biomedical, healthcare, defence, agriculture, oil & gas and packaging industries.

Planned Impact

Apart from the academic community, the UK industry would be able to benefit directly from the proposed research and generated new knowledge. They would gain new skills and know-how related to the latest advancements of PVD technologies. Our annual technical workshops will provide a unique opportunity for advanced training covering both, fundamental Surface Engineering and Tribology, and practical skills related to the latest PVD technology. Cross-sectoral mobility would be increased by development of transferable expertise.
Inclusivity of the UK industry is equally important to us as engaging academic users, hence at least 25% of the coating platform operational time (including the Experimental Officer's time) would be allocated to the industrial users using discounted rate access. The access priority would be given to maximise the quality of equipment usage, rather than trying to share it as widely as possible
Improved adoption of Surface Engineering will result in wider UK PLC economic and societal impacts associated with development of functional surfaces for automotive, aerospace, biomedical, healthcare, defence, agriculture, oil & gas and packaging industries. The UK industry needs innovative coatings and functional surfaces to enhance products performance, exploit efficient materials utilisation and adapt to changes in the business environment.
Societal benefits include improved reliability of engineering components found in many walks of life; and as a result improvements in the quality of life for recipients of surgical implants, reduced environmental pollutants in the manufacturing processes, increased fuel efficiency with lower emissions in multi-modal surface transport, and improvements in functional efficiency and inherent safety of products.
The economic competitiveness of the UK's manufacturing industry will benefit from new, commercially exploitable IP in novel cutting-edge Surface Engineering technology. Functional surfaces know-how and capability rooted in the UK will provide a wealth-generating effect, drawing new business collaborations, creating more multi-sectoral, commercial research collaborations with industry from the UK and internationally.

Publications

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Description the grant is for equipment purchase and upgrade to enable a next generation of thin film coating technologies. In this regard the findings have been mainly to do with the enhanced capability that we can give this piece of equipment and how we can describe this as unique. It is clear now that we are able to add a nanoparticle source that is not currently available elsewhere.
Exploitation Route We have a dissemination and commercialisation pathway through our industrial collaborators. We have many companies contributing to use the equipment through ROYCE and other avenues.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Energy,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Transport,Other

URL https://engineering.leeds.ac.uk/info/201538/institute_of_functional_surfaces
 
Description We have been able to provide coatings for several companies thus far and the new equipment will be exploited to increase this impact., Two examples are - CRODA; developing coatings to act synergistically with their lubricants - CUMMINS; new low friction technologies for their components.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic